Policies and Procedures
The following Policies and Procedures have been developed through many years of experience running the preschool. Any changes implemented during the school year will be posted at the preschool and a notice sent home with your child.
- School generally begins one week after the opening of the Anchorage School District (ASD) schools in the fall and closes one week before the end of the ASD school year in the spring. The ASD’s holiday and in-service schedules are observed. The Preschool follows ASD’s cancellation policy. Therefore, if ASD cancels school the Preschool will be closed.
- Preschool may be cancelled at the discretion of the Executive Board in case of emergency or if the teacher, assistant teacher, or a substitute teacher is not at school.
- Field Trips will require that each child attend with an adult who is responsible for them. Families will provide their own transportation for field trips. Also, the regular school day may be shortened or cancelled on a field trip day, at the discretion of the teachers.
- If school is cancelled for more than a week, tuition will be prorated in accordance with operating expenses.
Admission Policies and Procedures
- Anchorage Cooperative Preschool does not discriminate on the basis of race, sex, creed, color, religion, disability or sexual orientation.
- To enroll in the Preschool, a child must be three years old by the first day of preschool. The teacher and the president of the board may consider children who do not meet the age requirement by the cut-off date on a case-by-case basis. A child may register and attend, with a parent, no more than 12 classroom sessions before they turn three years old. The registration fee as set in Chapter 8 applies.
- Applications for the next school year are accepted for children currently enrolled and their siblings, and for siblings of alumni from February 1. Open application begins February 15.
- A child is considered enrolled after the first and last tuition payments have been paid, and all forms (Emergency Information cards, physical, and record of immunizations or exemption) are complete.
- A non-refundable registration and supply fee is required with the application. A $20 supply fee for Pre-Kindergarten is also required for students enrolled in the program. If your child is beginning school after January 1st, this fee will be prorated to 50%. For children starting after Spring Break, this fee with be prorated to 25%. First and last tuition payments are paid at registration. (See Finances, chapter 8)
- The first twelve enrolled sessions are considered a probationary period for children and families. The teacher and Preschool Coordinator will determine a child’s readiness for preschool.
Required Health Records
The preschool must comply with city and state regulations. The preschool must be able to pass inspections each year, including a regular health inspection. We use good health and safety procedures to maintain our license and to ensure that children are safe and healthy.
The following medical information must be on file before the child’s first day at school:
- Up-to-date immunization record for your child (or exemption form).
- Current physical for your child. Physicals must be current within the past 12 months. Physicals must be kept current during the school year.
Hand washing is essential for keeping children healthy. It prevents the spread of germs and disease. The teacher will regularly discuss with children the importance of hand washing and exactly how to wash hands.
Young children are at increased risk for contracting infectious diseases for many reasons:
- Increased exposure to germs;
- Underdeveloped immune system;
- Lack of control of body fluids;
- Personal habits that spread germs like thumb sucking or nose picking.
It is important to wash hands:
- After using the toilet or helping a child with toileting;
- Before preparing food or eating;
- After handling animals;
- After wiping or blowing your own or a child’s nose.
When washing hands children should:
- Wash for 20 seconds, using warm running water and soap
- Scrub palms, backs, between fingers, fingernails, wrists, and thumbs
- Rinse until no bubbles are left
- Turn off the faucet with a paper towel
- Thoroughly dry hands
Adults should remind children to wash their hands and should model frequent hand washing at school and at home. If a child chronically wipes or picks nose, ask them to go wash. Children should keep fingernails short and clean and use hand lotion to prevent dry, cracking skin. Hand sanitizer is available throughout the preschool.
Many preschoolers are just learning to use the bathroom and need help, encouragement, and teaching. At our school all parents are staff members who might tend to a child in the bathroom. Ideally, the teacher is asked to help with this sensitive area. If this is not possible, the closest adult should assist by encouraging independence, reminding the child of the routine (pants down, wipe, pants up, flush, wash and dry). The parent or teacher will do these things while offering as much privacy as possible; diverting ones eyes, talking about your respect for their privacy and encouraging them to do as much as possible. Washing of hands is a big task. It takes time and must be done thoroughly. If a parent or teacher is waiting outside the bathroom while the child is using the toilet then to step in during the hand washing process is a good idea. Help them to reach the soap and the paper towels. Let the teacher know if there are children who cannot reach these things. Talk about why hand washing is important. Praise them for all of their attempts.
There are some preschoolers who are still in pull-ups. If you are a parent of this child then you will need to stay at preschool if you think a bowel movement is eminent. If you need to leave you must stay close by so that we can call you to tend to this. Teaching your child to use the bathroom at home and during school is encouraged. There is a changing table in the hallway bathroom. If you use this please get the disinfectant solution bottle and spray it down. Put all soiled diapers outside in the garbage near the stairs.
There are times when preschoolers may have an accident or their clothes get in the way. If you are still working on this skill, it is encouraged that parents bring a bag of extra clothes and place it in their cubby. Show this to the preschooler so that he/she knows what to do and takes some responsibility for getting cleaned up. If this is not available then we do have extra clothes here at school.
On a normal day the teacher and parents encourage children to use the bathroom during transition times. Many children do not go at this time yet wait until they “have to go”. They will learn eventually not to wait, especially come wintertime when they get everything on and outside and then they have to come back in to go to the bathroom. We do not pressure children to use the bathroom, only suggest that it is a good idea before we go outside.
We have a system where a preschooler indicates visually that he or she is using the bathroom. Working parents should be aware of when preschoolers go in and out of the bathroom.
If a parent is not comfortable with other parents helping their children in the bathroom then please let the teacher know in advance so she can let the other parents know that there is a special situation where the teacher is needed. This is an ok option most of the time, yet there are times when it is almost impossible for the teacher to tend to your child. We follow the Alaska State standard that no child shall be left alone with an adult unless that adult has a background check on file.
Animals are permitted at school only after the teacher gives her approval. Allergies may negate the ability to have some animals visit. Visiting pets must be properly caged and/or contained in accordance with health and sanitation rules set out by the State Department of Health and Social Services. After a child or adult touches an animal, she must wash her hands.
You may borrow books anytime from the library. There is a check out/in list in the library. Please look in the front cover to make sure our name or stamp is in the book. If it is not please just write ACP or the like. Check in with the Teacher if a child wants to check out a book from the cart that is used at lap reading. Please return books in a timely manner.
Please make sure your child has warm outdoor clothes everyday. In winter it is especially important for children to get plenty of fresh air and exercise. We go outside unless it is below 10 degrees Fahrenheit.
Each child should bring to school (depending on the weather)
- Rain coat and pants, rain boots (no umbrellas unless they have the safe plastic tips)
- Warm coat and finger gloves. Light hat.
- Warm coat, snow pants or a snowsuit, snow boots, warm hat that covers ears, warm mittens.
- Inside footwear should be available every day. You may leave them in your cubby. Children must wear shoes, slippers or crocs in school and not snow boots.
We have extra warm clothes that children can borrow. If your child borrows something please return it clean on your next school day.
Help your child practice putting on his/her own outdoor clothes. Self-dressing is something preschool-age children are working on. It is part of the curriculum that you can work on at home as well as at school. Plan for the extra time needed to allow them to learn this skill. Working adults will encourage independent dressing and help if needed. For example an adult may start a zipper and ask the child to finish.
Choose coats and boots that the child can be successful with. Remind them to put on the snowsuit/pants before the boots.
A complete change of clothing is to be kept at the preschool at all times in case of accidents or spills. They should be labeled with your child’s name and kept in a Ziploc bag in your child’s cubby for easy access. Children should not bring toys to school unless instructed to do so. The preschool will not be responsible for loss or damage to the personal belongings brought to the facility. All belongings brought to school should be labeled with your child’s name.
- If a child gets a communicable disease, the family should notify the Teacher and the Health and Safety Person immediately in order that other members whose children have been exposed may be notified.
- A child is not allowed at school with:
- Strep throat that has not been treated for 24 hours with an antibiotic.
- Rash of acute onset, associated with fever or symptoms of illness.
- Oral fever of 100 degrees or greater.
- Vomiting and/or diarrhea.
- Impetigo with less than 24 hours of treatment with an antibiotic.
- Fresh, runny nose and watery eyes (less than 24 hours old).
- If your child has been ill with a contagious disease (other than a cold), the child may return to school if the family is certain the infectious stage is past. (If you are not sure, check with your physician.)
- If your child becomes ill at school, the family will be called to pick up the child. Always leave a phone number where you or someone who is on your pickup list can be reached.
- If there is illness in your family and you are not sure if your child is sick, keep the child home. School is an intense experience even for the healthy child.
All injuries, however minor, should be reported immediately to the teacher and recorded by her on the Accident Report Sheet. Families will be informed of all injuries.
In case of a life-threatening situation, the teacher or other certified person will care for the child. One adult will call 911 for transport and then try to reach the family or emergency contact person to have them meet at the emergency room. Please keep your telephone numbers current. If you will be somewhere else for the morning, leave the number.
Alaska State Statutes require that all licensed childcare providers report all incidents of suspected or actual abuse and neglect of children within 24 hours to the Alaska Division of Family and Youth Services Child Protection Office.
Allergies and Food Preferences
- Families with the allergies/preferences will have an optional snack on hand and labeled with the child’s name and date.
- ACP will have cheese or cheese sticks, carrots, raisins, applesauce and graham and rice crackers on hand if other snack supplies have run low. Inform the teacher if this supply is used.
- ACP is a nut free facility. This includes the whole or butter form of peanuts and other tree nuts.
- Specific allergies have been communicated to the membership and the specific children and their allergies or food preferences are listed on the snack check list.
- Prior to purchasing snack, providers will attempt to furnish a snack that all children can eat.
- Snack provider will bring in any packaging or a recipe to clarify ingredients.
- If this is not possible then the family with the allergies/preferences will have an optional snack on hand and labeled at school and will bring it to the HH/snack worker that day.
- Snack is listed on the sign in dry erase board and this family will read the list and check with the worker each day to clarify any concerns.
- Families with allergies/preferences are encouraged to create a “cook book” or list of suggested brands of foods.
Allergy & Anaphylactic Policy
Anchorage Cooperative Preschool recognizes the potentially serious consequences of children with allergies. These allergies may include a condition known as anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis is a severe, potentially life threatening allergic reaction brought about by exposure to certain foods or other substances. Some of the most common food allergens known to trigger an anaphylactic reaction are peanut and peanut by-products, such as peanut oil and peanut butter, tree nuts, sesame seeds, milk, eggs, seafood (fish, crustaceans and shellfish) wheat, and soy. Tree nuts are defined as walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts (filberts), Brazil nuts, pecans, cashews, pistachio nuts, pine nuts (pignolias) and macadamia nuts. Non-food items such as latex and bee stings can also bring about a life-threatening reaction.
While the key responsibility lies with the anaphylactic individual and his or her family, in the case of a young anaphylactic child, the childcare community must also be aware. Creating an environment that reduces the risk to severely allergic or anaphylactic children requires the co-operation and understanding of all members of the Preschool, including staff, children and parents.
It is in this light that we request that NO PEANUT OR TREE NUT PRODUCTS ARE ALLOWED AT THE PRESCHOOL AT ANYTIME. As with other policies of the preschool, staff, parents and children are expected to comply.
Anchorage Cooperative Preschool is a NUT FREE environment.
All parents of children attending the Preschool are responsible for:
Ensuring that their children do not bring any peanuts or other nuts into the school.
- Ensuring that their children are properly cleaned up (i.e. hands, face, clothing) before school where allergies are present.
- Being supportive of those children with allergies.
- Bringing peanut / nut free snacks to serve at preschool.
Parents of allergic children are responsible for:
Identifying all of their children’s allergies to the preschool.
- Supporting and educating the preschool and teachers about their children’s allergies.
- Providing an alternate snack for their children when necessary.
- Ensuring that all emergency contact phone numbers are current at all times.
- Providing the preschool staff with any medication (Benadryl, Epi-pen) in case of allergic reaction.
Parents whose children require prescription medication for life threatening allergies MAY NOT leave their children at the preschool unless they:
Provide a completed Medication Administration and Consent Form (“MAC Form”) to the Preschool, with a signed consent for the teachers (parent helpers) to administer prescription medication. Parents must sign the consent form themselves, but have their physician fill out the applicable medical information.
Parents must provide up to date prescription medicine, in the original container, for the teachers to use in an emergency.
Parents with children who have life threatening allergies are also encouraged to:
Send other parents in their children’s class a letter informing the other parents about their child’s allergies. The letter might include the child’s name, allergies, and whether he or she brings his or her own snack and any other relevant information to help the other parents understand the scope or severity of the allergy.
Have their child wear a Medic Alert bracelet.
* Check with the parent who is serving snack (or lunch for the Pre-Kindergarten program) to see if the snack is “safe” for his or her child.
Children with special needs are welcome at ACP. Every effort will be made to accommodate their needs and provide a positive learning experience. A pre-enrollment conference will be necessary to discuss the needs and any adaptations that may need to be made to the classroom or program. Concerns of the parents and/or teachers will be discussed at this time. As is the case with all children, however, we do reserve the right to terminate enrollment in the event of unresolvable behavior problems that infringe on the rights of the other children in the classroom.
Behavioral or Emotional Concerns
Sometimes behavioral or emotional concerns can arise which cause the staff and or parents to question the success of the child within the school environment. When these concerns arise, ACP will partner with the parents to follow through with the Cooperative Plan of action:
- Conference: A conference will be set up to discuss the concerns. At that time, in collaboration with ACP staff and the family, we will construct a Cooperative Plan of Action for the child.
- Cooperative Plan of Action: The plan of action would be discussed and implemented for a trial basis of 30-days. After the 30-day trial, another conference would be called to discuss progress, as well as the possible need for modification to the Cooperative Plan of Action, or if additional topics need to be addressed. At this time we may discuss the role of additional services, and if needed, make a referral.
- Referral: Sometimes a referral for screening or special services may be needed to help the child’s success at school. If the teacher and/or family feel this is necessary, or the concern goes beyond the teacher/staff’s area of expertise, the teacher/director will fill out a referral form and suggest possible avenues for the family to explore. This could include, but not limited to, seeking advice from your family doctor or pediatrician (first), or suggesting a free screening through the Anchorage School District’s Early Intervention Screening Program.
- A Cooperative Approach and Attitude: ACP and their staff recognize that a cooperative approach to helping the child is needed and will agree to work with the family and specialists if necessary. We will set up a Cooperative Plan with input from all parties and put this plan into action for a period agreed upon by all. As part of the Cooperative Plan of Action, ACP staff agrees to meet regularly to discuss and, if necessary, alter to meet the needs of the individual child.
- Recognizing that ACP may not meet the needs of the child: On rare occasions it may be decided by all or part of the Cooperative Plan members that ACP may not be able to meet the needs of the child. If this happens, ACP will allow the family to resign their membership to seek a program that can better meet those needs without financial restrictions to the family.
ACP reserves the right to terminate membership if the family is not responsive to seeking a cooperative approach to helping the child succeed in the ACP environment and/or if the behavior is a safety issue for the staff or other children participating in the program with the child.